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Tulsi Tea: What Is It & How Does It Aid Immune Function?

Tulsi Tea: What Is It & How Does It Aid Immune Function?

Tulsi tea comes from the green leafy plant holy basil. Holy basil differs from the type often found in recipes and your local supermarket! The plant is native to Southeast Asia but is available worldwide because of its medicinal benefits. 

Touted as a tonic, it’s been proposed that the plant can help with issues that affect the body, mind and spirit. The plant's flowers, leaves and seeds can all be used for different things – extracts, pills and ointments are also available. It's believed that the antioxidant content and its adaptogenic properties give it its ability to help promote health and wellness. 

What Is Tulsi Tea? 

Tulsi tea is derived from the leaves of the holy basil plant and is made by mixing lemon juice with the leaves and boiling it for 10 minutes. The plant can stand as tall as 60cm and has a furry stem and fragrant leaves that are either green or purple. The flowers that grow on the tip of the plant's branches are white or purplish. There are three varieties of the plant: Krishna, Rama and Vana. Each type has its own characteristics. 

In Ayurvedic medicine, the tea is often referred to as "The Incomparable One," "Mother Medicine of Nature" or "The Queen of Herbs." Many people who tout tulsi tea's beneficial effects also consider it an "elixir of life." 

With so many names highly regarding this tea, it's no surprise that it’s been used for so long as a way to address many health disorders. In many cultures, the tea is used for medicinal benefits and spiritual rituals. Although tulsi tea has been used for centuries, modern science is just beginning to prove how effective the elixir can be. 

Where Did Tulsi Tea Originate? 

Tulsi tea was first used in India thousands of years ago. In its infancy, it was religiously and spiritually significant which is why it was donned “holy basil”. The plant is best acclimated to humid and tropical climates like Southeast Asia. 

Legends surrounding its use have been used to explain why it's so well-regarded and widely used. One talks about holy basil as the physical and earthly manifestation of the goddess of wealth known as Lakshmi. In the legend, the goddess Lakshmi was married to Vishnu – as one of his three wives – and ended up cursed by his other two wives to live on earth as the plant now known as holy basil. 

Another ancient legend tells the story of a battle known as Samudra Manthana, which is the "churning of the cosmic ocean by the gods and demons." When the battle ends, the physician to the gods, known as Dhanvantari, provides the holy basil elixir of immortality to the gods. When Vishnu receives this gift, he cries tears of joy – one of which makes its way into the elixir and then transforms into the plant on earth. In the Hindu religion, holy basil is considered a threshold between earth and heaven. 

Image by Avinash Sharma on Unsplash: What are the tulsi tea benefits? 

What Is In Tulsi Tea? 

There are many compounds within tulsi tea – the main component is eugenol. Eugenol is a phenolic compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant within the body. Other chemical compounds found in tulsi tea include: 

  • Caryophyllene 
  • Terpinene4-ol 
  • Eugenol Methyl ester 
  • 3-carene 

Tulsi tea also contains a variety of nutrients, including: 

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Calcium 
  • Magnesium 
  • Potassium 
  • Zinc 
  • Selenium 
  • Manganese 
  • Vitamin C
  • Copper
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin A 

Because tulsi tea contains so many different nutrients and powerful antioxidant properties, it can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle!

Image by Aniketh Kanukurthi on Unsplash: How does tulsi tea aid immune function? 

Is Drinking Tulsi Tea Good For You? 

There are many health benefits associated with drinking tulsi tea. They can include: 

  • Promoting better heart health because of its ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol 
  • Reducing stress and the adverse physical and psychological effects of stress 
  • Increasing the body's cell's ability to use oxygen, which can improve respiratory health 
  • Aids proper digestion and eases gastrointestinal distress
  • Inhibits the onset of neurodegenerative disease, cancer and premature aging by neutralizing biochemicals that contribute to these 
  • Reduces sun damage 
  • Fights and relieves inflammation 
  • It helps fight and ward off infections 
  • Improves the strength and health of the skin and hair 
  • Improved cognitive function 

Another benefit of drinking tulsi tea is that it can help the immune system function better. 

Is Tulsi Tea Good For The Immune System? 

Tulsi tea has proven to be a highly effective addition to the body's overall health when it comes to immunity. Modern studies have looked at how tulsi tea can affect the immune system, and the results are positive for several reasons!

One such benefit is its enhanced ability to respond to pathogens. One particular study used tulsi tea and placebo groups and found that people in the tulsi tea group increased their Natural Killed and T-helper cells – these cells are vital for fighting off infections. 

Studies have found that taking tulsi tea can reduce the risk of death for people with current possible deadly infections. One specific study gave tulsi tea to people with acute viral encephalitis. The data found that people were more likely to survive while taking tulsi tea over four weeks of the infection. 

Tulsi tea may have had humble beginnings in natural medicine, but with modern scientific claims backing up what others have said for centuries, it's no wonder more people are leaning toward this medicine to cope with various health ailments.

Image by Anda Ambrosini on Unsplash

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